Many people are under the impression that a vast majority of the planet’s ocean waters hasn’t been explored yet, but the truth is that only 13% of them is still considered truly wild.
A new study published in the Current Biology journal shared this number, explaining that the “truly wild” waters are those that are still free from human activity. Conservation biologist Kendall Jones, who’s the lead author of the study, discovered that “more than 118 million square miles of ocean ecosystems are unable to function naturally due to human impacts like commercial shipping, fertilizer runoff, and fishing.”
“It’s concerning because those unimpacted places in the ocean allow a lot of ecosystems to function,” says Jones. “Maintaining these impact-free areas of the ocean is important for maintaining the entire ocean, not just the health of specific wilderness areas.”